13 Mar 2003

Papua New Guinea MPs outraged by Australian report on misuse of aid funds

8:38 am on 13 March 2003

Papua New Guinea's parliament has reacted angrily to a report from an Australian think tank which describes the country as a nation wracked with corruption, crime and a disintegrating infrastructure.

During a noisy three hour debate in parliament a wide range of MPs expressing their fanger over the report's conclusions.

The report so angered the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare that he referred the report's authors - including one of the country's most respected analysts - to the Privileges Committee for investigation.

Arthur Somare, the PM's son, Governor of East Sepik and national MP, said he was outraged by suggestions in the report that PNG leaders were corrupt and incompetent.

He said he felt particularly betrayed that co-author Mike Manning - the head of PNG's Institute of National Affairs - had been so outspoken about the country's problems.

He also attacked Australian journalists for publishing the report.

Some MPs said the report had some merit but most disagreed with one MP calling for the authors to be jailed.